The movie Locke (written and directed by Stephen Knight) at first seems like a combination of a one-man one-act play married to a road movie.
As the movie begins, it appears Ivan Locke has finished an ordinary work day and is travelling home but won’t get there straight away. And despite its prosaic and inauspicious start, Locke doesn’t turn out to be all about the drive and the scenery. Besides the car and the journey taken symbolise his isolation and the difficulties he must face in one night.
Ivan Locke begins a journey which will certainly remove him from everything he holds dear to an end which almost certainly will be uncertain and unresolved.
As he drives, Locke receives and makes a series of phone calls. Through these calls, we slowly realise that his life is unravelling. The first impression is that he is driving to attend to a sick relative or friend and won’t be home to watch a big soccer match on TV with his wife and children. But that’s merely a backstory and the reality is far far worse. He is driving to attend a birth of a child, his child whose mother is barely known to him.
Locke in this situation chooses a path that most people wouldn’t take. In fact as he reveals his actions he is counselled to not follow that path at all. Most people would consider his choices as costing too high a price. That is the essence of this movie.
Yet as he chooses this path everything in his life dissolves. In rapid succession career and relationships and more disappear. Yet in all of this Locke is clear about his actions, and the path he follows if not yet prepared for the consequences. And as the consequences do become clearer, he is not immune to the hurt that he is causing and in fact is at times quite overcome. He does not throw away these things lightly. He is fully aware of the hurt and trouble he causes and feels it keenly.
His reasons for his choices only become clearer later in the movie. He is in a desperate race to reveal and resolve his past and utterly determined to dedicate himself to an uncertain future.
And in the title role Tom Hardy excels as good a performance I have ever seen balancing his emotions with the resilience needed in all the situations faced and the pure vulnerability of his ultimate motive to resolve the situation.
What was most challenging and confronting about this movie was that true courage often comes at a price.
And even as the movie ends, much like the real life situation it mirrors, we don’t find out what how it ends at all.